Whether vegan-ism is your latest fad, your true diet of choice or something you are just testing out, it’s super important that you keep an eye on your protein intake and treat your body right. I have to admit, when I tried being vegan for a hot minute, all I ate was hummus, which is really just not ideal. It seems that when people blindly try to pursue a diet such as this one, they have no idea how to go about it – like me! After years of not reading health labels on food products and eating bacon religiously with my Sunday breakfast, turning vegan from one day to the other was almost like entering a new world. It’s not that I didn’t eat healthy before, but it wasn’t until I truly started paying attention that I realized how difficult it is to stay on track and stick to veganism. Do you even know how many things contain egg or traces of dairy? Like… everything!
Here are some meat substitutes that are both delicious and nutritious, so you can keep up your earth-friendly diet and still give your body the daily energy it needs.
First, out favorite super-food of the moment: quinoa. Ideal for your daily healthy-fat intake, quinoa is not only extremely tasty, but it also contains anti-inflammatory nutrients and plenty of fiber. Usually used a substitute for rice, this hearty grain boasts an impressive list of health benefits, for example: it is gluten-free (before it was cool), contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E and it is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein. Plus, this grain is so versatile that it can also be used as flour for baking your favorite treats!
Commonly mistaken for a grain, buckwheat is actually a is actually a fruit seed much like rhubarb. Energizing and filled with nutrients, buckwheat is is often used an as alternative to rice – a delicious choice and with much more protein. If gluten is a concern to you, buckwheat has none, making it the ingredient of choice for people with a high sensitivity to heavy grains… or fear of gluten. Try using buckwheat as flour to make anything from noodles to muffins, porridge or pancakes! Some studies say it may even improve circulation and lower cholesterol, so eat away, guilt-free.
From soy sauce on rice to salted edamame to soy milk lattes, there is no end to what this protein can do. A complete protein and a well-known super-food, soy is often used as a replacement for dairy and meat products, due to its supernatural versatility. If you’re not big on tofu, try some edamame or soy burgers for dinner. For breakfast, simply replace your yogurt with a soy-based one and add soy milk to your morning coffee! It’s little things like these that help make a huge difference in your diet.
Beans, Beans, Beans
Probably the most affordable source of protein out there, beans have a ton of protein and can be cooked with almost anything! Whether you prefer pinto, black, lima or kidney beans, there are hundreds of recipes to choose from and with very little effort, your body will get the protein it needs.
Not to get oddly religious when talking about protein, but the brand Ezekiel 4:9 is honestly changing the bread game with their high-protein products. Made with a unique combination of 6 grains and legumes, this brand’s bread has 84.3% of the protein we need in a day! Not only is it a great source of fiber, this hearty bread also contains Amino Acids, Vitamins B and C and no flour, sugar or G.M.O’s! Ezekiel Bread is entire kosher, gluten free and vegan. PB&J’s anyone?
Nuts & Seeds
For a nutritious and tasty snack, nuts and seeds are the way to go. From almonds, cashews and pistachios to pumpkin seeds, chia and flax, there is an ample variety of protein-filled goodies to choose from. It’s probably best that you avoid eating too many macadamia nuts and pecans, as they are the nuts with the least protein and the most fat. Try some toasted pumpkin seeds or some cous cous with cranberries and almonds for a healthy and super satisfying lunch.